"The Show Must Go On" is the twenty-second episode, and the season finale, of the third season of One Tree Hill and the 67th produced episode of the series. It was broadcasted on May 3, 2006. On the eve of their wedding, Nathan worries for Haley's safety while Peyton and Brooke's friendship is tested by a shock confession. Deb tells Dan the truth about the dealership fire when she learns who he thinks was responsible, and Karen finds herself needing Keith more than ever when she makes a startling discovery.
In a lake, there are purple flowers scattered all across a lake, a car's screeching brakes are heard as Haley's bracelet floats in the lake. Haley then appears drowning in the water, and she opens her eyes as a scream for help is heard. Nathan jumps up from his nightmare, alone in Lucas' room. He goes down to the river court to find Lucas who tells him that he misses playing basketball everyday. Nathan tells him about his nightmare and how he can't go and see her as Haley is insisting they don't see each other before the ceremony. Lucas offers to go see her assures Nathan everything will be fine. Deb joins Dan at Keith's grave, as she declares him as a hero, Dan tells her it was him that set the fire in the dealership, so he wasn't that much of a hero and walks off leaving Deb guilt ridden. Haley goes to see Karen, she asks if it is ok to wear a dress made from the fabric originally from her dress fabric, which Karen assures her it is. Brooke goes to see Peyton, after sleeping in her car, and the two begin to argue. Peyton promises she isn't going to do anything, but Brooke isn't so sure. Peyton then reminds her how she didn't really miss Lucas and Brooke slaps her telling her not to twist her words.
Brooke is getting the ceremony ready as Lucas joins her, realizing something is wrong. Brooke tells him not to talk to Peyton and to put her above her for once. She then sighs admitting she is stressed about her speech and the dress. Meanwhile, Rachel switches tables so she can be near Cooper, as he approaches and tells her to leave him alone. She tries to flirt with him as Cooper says it was a mistake and they will talk later, just don't ruin Nathan's and Haley's day. Nathan drives to the wedding awkwardly wedged between his mom and dad. As they arrive, Dan fixes Lucas' tie as Deb tells Karen that Dan thinks Keith set the fire, so she has to confess. Karen advises her otherwise as his revenge will have been buried with his brother, but Deb says she has to. Nathan is staring at a fountain as he remembers his dream. He remembers the purple flowers and Haley's voice screaming his name in help and remembers Haley's face as she drowns helplessly under the water. Lucas assures him that he has checked on her and she is fine, but Nathan doesn't understand why she isn't there already. As they ring her, Haley comes in on a horse-drawn carriage and smiles at her soon-to-be-husband-again.
Lucas goes to see Haley and walks past all the girl's stuff as they all got ready and left their stuff in the same room. He offers to walk her down the aisle, which Haley is delighted about. All the people gather at the ceremony, as Brooke joins Rachel addressing her as 'friend' as Peyton comes up. As she walks off leaving Peyton alone, Lucas compliments her and Peyton tells her if he has been asked to stay away, just do it. Deb, Dan, Brooke and Peyton walk down the aisle, Brooke filled with sarcastic comments towards Peyton, and take their place at the front of the ceremony. Lucas then walks Haley down the aisle and hugs her before leaving her to take her place as the ceremony begins. As the vows are said, Dan puts his hand on Deb's unwelcoming lap, as Karen looks to her side at the empty seat that Keith should be sitting in. Lucas and Peyton also exchange glances as the couple exchange vows. The two put their rings on as Haley wears her bracelet. Nathan presents a shocked Haley with a new ring as they are declared husband and wife and get a standing ovation from the crowd. As they leave, Deb tells Dan she set the fire and walks away from him, satisfied with her courage.
After the revelation, Dan is sitting on the chairs in shock with Deb's confession. He sees a young Keith standing in front of him and asks how his life is. He then pretends he has a gun in his hand, points it at Dan and pretends to shoot it at him. At the ceremony, Rachel spots Cooper flirting with another woman and downs a glass of champagne. Mouth watches on curiously as he DJs. Peyton asks Brooke to talk to her and she agrees. She asks if this is how their friendship ends as Brooke says it was her boy. Peyton asks if she loves him and Brooke tells her how dare she ask as Peyton tells her she didn't get an answer. Haley and Nathan start dancing to Haley's surprise song, which is the one she wanted. Dan goes to Keith's grave and sees a younger version of Keith swinging on a tree. He breaks down and fall to his knees in tears. Brooke and Lucas are dancing as Brooke says Peyton told her some things about them. Lucas assures her that the kiss in the tutor center was under different circumstances, as Brooke is shocked as she didn't know anything about it. She walks off as Rachel grabs another bottle of champagne to drink. Lucas chases Brooke into the back room as Brooke assures him that a kiss means something. He asks for forgiveness as he forgave her for sleeping with Chris. Brooke is shocked he is using it as a bargaining chip as Lucas accuses her of waiting for a moment to push him away. She loses her temper as she realises she can't find her purse as they are all identical. He tells her he loves her but Brooke asks him to show it more. As the two argue, she tells him that they have to do their toasts, about love and walks off.
Lucas begins his speech and that is closely followed by Brooke's speech and the crowd are both impressed and inspired by their speeches about the love Nathan and Haley have. Dan goes to see Karen at Keith's grave and apologises to her for the way he has treated her, Lucas and Keith. As he does so, Karen reveals she is pregnant and Dan promises her he is going to be there for her. Back at the ceremony, Cooper does a toast before Rachel does a toast and announces she had sex with Cooper and eventually dedicating the toast to that. Mouth gets her offstage as she runs off. Cooper admits it to Nathan before running after her. As they get outside, Rachel gets in the limousine and Coooper gets in to try and calm her down.
In the car, Rachel eventually stops and pulls into a layby as Cooper gets out yelling at her asking if she wants to kill her and if she's stupid as Rachel tells him she must be for falling in love with him. Cooper tells her he did like her, but he was not wanting to get serious and thought she didn't either, but Rachel notices the past tense and begins to cry, calling herself stupid. Cooper offers to take her back to the ceremony because she has her purse there and they can pretend like it never happened. Back at the ceremony, Haley and Nathan are forced to leave in their car due to their limo being stole, and they set off to London for their honeymoon. Brooke tells Mouth about Rachel going off with Cooper as Lucas approaches and asks to finish the conversation, but Brooke just asks to dance and asks why he didn't call and if he didn't miss her. Lucas assures her he did and it was just because he was angry. Haley and Nathan are driving away happily. With purple flowers in her hands, she puts the bracelet on Nathan saying 'don't say I never gave you anything.' Back at the ceremony, Lucas tells Peyton he told Brooke about the kiss as he goes to find his mom's purse to go home. As he goes in one of the identical bag, he finds a pregnancy test and asks his mom if she is pregnant, and Karen tells him she is, but that isn't her purse and thinks Brooke may have mixed up the purses, meaning she might be pregnant.
Brooke packs her stuff to leave Peyton's house, as Peyton begs her to stay but Brooke tells her that they are no longer friends and if they never speak again, she would be ok with it. She walks out saying Peyton just blew the second chance she gave her. Meanwhile, Rachel continues to try and get Cooper back in the limo. As he tells her there's no chance, Rachel tells him there's something she needs to tell him. In Nathan's car, Haley realizes she has also left her purse at the ceremony which has the plane tickets in and they need to go back. Nathan rings Lucas and asks him to bring it up and they arrange to meet at the Molina Bridge. Haley then tells Nathan she needs to tell him something. Back in the limo, Cooper tells Rachel he doesn't believe her as Rachel tells him to pull over. As he refuses as he wants to talk about it, she grabs the steering wheel skidding it across the road, where Nathan and Haley are driving down. Haley screams to tell Nathan to look out, forcing him to swerve across the road as the limo breaks through the barrier and with Rachel and Cooper trapped inside plummets into the lake. The two lie unconscious inside as Nathan and Haley stand at the bridge. Nathan jumps in as Haley begs him not to. He swims down as Haley screams after him. Dan gets home to find 'murderer' written in red paint on his wall. Peyton burns the picture of her, Brooke and Lucas shooting a heart. As Lucas drives with the purses, Haley screams on the bridge as Nathan gets into the car to get Rachel and Cooper out and realizes he is stuck himself. Haley screams at the bridge as Nathan's dream comes true, with him in the water. Haley's bracelet surfaces in the lake as Nathan, Cooper and Rachel stay trapped underneath.
- "He tried to kill me. That's right, he's the one who tried to burn me in the dealership fire. So I guess the hero got what was coming to him after all."
- "Do you hear yourself right now? The last time you tried to steal my boyfriend? He's on the door, Peyton. He's on the damn door under me."
- "I don't wanna steal him, OK?"
- "But you like him."
- "You know what? You even said last night at Tric that you really didn't miss him."
- "Don't you dare. Don't you dare twist my words around to make yourself feel like you are not a backstabbing, two faced bitch, Peyton, because you are and you know it."
- "I got to be honest, you know I could never officially give you away, you know that? I could never give away my best friend."
- "You had your chance."
- "Wanna make it a dual ceremony, Coop?"
- "Now I know how this dress looks on a witch."
- "Go Brooke yourself."
- "Nathan, it's been said that there is one word that will free us from the weight and the pain of life and that word is love, and I believe that. That doesn't mean that it hasn't been hard, or that it won't be, it just means that I've found a stillness and bravery in myself with you. You make me brave and I will love you until the end of time. This, I vow today."
- "Last year, we stood on a beach, and I told you how much I loved you and how I would always, always protect you. That day, nobody believed that this would work. But I don't think that anybody understood the love that I had for you, because if they did, they would have never doubted us. So I wanted to marry you all over again in front of our world, because today, when I look into your eyes, my love for you only grows. It's even stronger now and my love will never waver. This I vow to you, today and always and forever."
- "One day we'll walk down that aisle again Deb."
- "Open your eyes, Dan. I don't love you, I'm not coming back to you and Keith didn't try to kill you, I did."
- "I love you Brooke, I don't know how else to say it."
- "How about how you show it. I am not pushing you away Lucas, I am holding on to you for dear life, but I need you to need me back, okay? Why wouldn't you tell me about the kiss? And why didn't you call me while I was away? And why won't you ever just let me all the way in? We have to go and give our toasts now, about love."
- "The last time I gave a speech about Haley and Nathan was, well, at their first reception and I remember saying 'prepare to be surprised.' Well, I have to say, even I was surprised, because you see, they do something that's very rare to see in someone our age. Actually, it's very rare to see in anybody. They give their hearts to each other, unconditionally, and that's what true love is. It is not this fairy tale life that never knows pain, but it's two souls facing it together and diminishing it with their unconditional love. To Nathan and Haley Scott."
- "I'm not the most eloquent speaker, so I thought I would borrow a few words from Shakespeare. 'Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.' When life gets hard, when things change, true love remains the same. I look at Nathan and Haley and somehow, I feel safer. I don't know if I can explain that, but they give me hope. And I'm afraid to say it out loud, because maybe if life finds out, it would try and beat it out of them and that would be a shame, because we all can use a little hope sometimes, you know? That feeling that everything is going to be okay, and that there's gonna be someone there to help make sure of that. So here's to Nathan and Haley. Here's to hope. And here's to hope that will not alter."
- "As most of you know, Nathan and Haley's relationship was unexpected. Mostly because Haley is classy and attractive, and Nathan is not. But here's to Nathan and Haley, for proving to us that love is real, and genuine, and still attainable for the rest of us."
- "Well, well, I would like to make a toast, to Cooper's toast, about love. But what a minute, what could Nathan and Haley possibly know about love? I mean they're only 17 right? Right Cooper? You see Cooper seems to think a 17 year old couldn't possibly know anything about love. Of course, you know, that didn't stop him from having sex with me right? Yeah. To sex with Cooper!"
- "We're going to London for a few days"
- "Why? Doesn't it always rain there?"
- "Oh, yeah."
- "I want you to understand something, as far as I'm concerned, our friendship is over, and if we never speak again for the rest of our lives, that'll be fine. I gave you a second chance, Peyton, and you blew it."
- "At this moment there are six billion, five hundred and two million, eight hundred and sixty seven thousand, one hundred and twenty people in the world, give or take a few and sometimes all you need is one. For better or for worse."
- Lucas Scott (opening voiceover)
- "William Shakespeare wrote, 'Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds. It is an ever fixed mark that looks on tempests and is never shaken. Love alters not with time’s brief hours and weeks, but bears it out even to the edge of doom.'"
- Lucas Scott (closing voiceover)
- "Seasons Change" - Susie Suh
- "Chasing Cars" - Snow Patrol
- "We Are Man And Wife" - Michelle Featherstone
- "On Again" - Spacebar
- "More Than Anyone" - Gavin DeGraw
- "Boston" - Augustana
- "Babe, I'm Gonna Leave You" - Led Zeppelin
This episode's title originated from the song The Show Must Go On, originally sung by Queen.
- Whitey does not appear in this episode.
- This is the first season finale to not feature Whitey.
- Due to the amount they needed to put in the film, this episode is a minute longer than any other Tree Hill episode.
- 16 minutes of film were scrapped due to the time limit of the episode.
- Most of the under water scenes were shot in a 4 foot pool including the ones inside the car, which consisted of the front half of an old car.
- The artist Augustana's music was played in both the premiere and finale of the season - an unplanned similarity.
- When Lucas comes to Haley to offer to give her away, she mentions that everyone got ready in that room "including Rachel and Brooke for some reason." It makes sense that Brooke would get ready in the same room as Haley - she's the maid of honor but not why Rachel was there.
- Sophia Bush (Brooke) almost bruised her hand during the first fight scene between Brooke and Peyton. When she hits the door containing the list of guys for Brooke, she hits it very hard on every take and her bracelet (fan-made) created a small bruise on her palm and wrist.
- At the end of the episode, "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You" by Led Zeppelin is playing. This is the first time in television history that Led Zeppelin have licensed their songs for network television.
- Rachel and Cooper are not wearing their seatbelt yet when Nathan tries to save them (in the next episode) the seatbelt is fastened